“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the coloring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.” – John Lubbock, “The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in.
There are only minutes left in the game. The two soccer teams have been nobly battling each other, the broiling sun sucking the moisture and energy from their glistening bodies. Hearts are pounding, not only in the players, but also in the fans, who fill the bleachers to overflowing. The play has been both aggressive and flawless, as these young players vie for a championship. Only a minute remains now, anxious spectators, some with hands clasped in prayer, others with hands over their hearts, desperately wanting their team to score. Who will come out the victor? Will it be the team wearing crimson and blue, or the green and white? 30 seconds remain. Some fans are now covering their eyes, unable to endure the emotion of the moment. Then a humungous roar overtakes the stadium. The sound waves of victory flood the senses. Crimson and blue have scored a goal, time has expired. Champions!
Players and fans are jumping on each other, hugging each other, screaming in joy and delight. It doesn’t get any better than this! Other players and fans are dejected, forlorn, proud of the effort, but losers. All this work, and no reward. Bummer. Super bummer.
Others, who live in the area near the stadium, and hold no interest in soccer in general, much less the game that just transpired, simply go on with their lives. Oblivious to what just happened.
Was the Crimson’s victory a good thing, or a bad thing? Does it have any meaning in the grand scheme?
Depends on your perspective.
Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be? ~Author Unknown
Just as with the game, just described, almost nothing that happens to us that is one dimensional. Very little can be accurately viewed or interpreted, through any one, single lens or filter. Alternative perspectives exist that serve broader, and sometimes even conflicting interpretations.
Whatever happens in our lives, losing a job, a relationship, a loved one, inheriting a fortune, finding your soulmate, purchasing a new home, losing (or winning) the big game, all these things have multiple meanings and consequences. Why not find the meaning and perspective that serves you best?
When events unfold such that you feel an impact, ask yourself this:
- How else can I see this?
- What might be a different perspective for me to hold?
- How might someone observing these circumstances choose to see them? Could I see them similarly?
- From this new perspective, what is mine to do to make my experience better?
- How will this lead me to improve my life?
Choices, choices, choices. We can’t always control what happens in our lives, but we always have a choice on how we respond. When stuff happens, there are likely more options than we first realize. The circumstances may seem void of options, but make no mistake, there are options. After reflection, make your response from a perspective that builds you up, leads you where you need to go, and contributes to your greater good.
In a rapidly ascending balloon were two men. One watched the earth getting farther and farther away. One watched the stars getting nearer and nearer. ~George Jean Nathan, “Viewpoint,” A Book Without a Title, 1918
Use your power of choice, use your power of perspective. Find the best response, then take a step in that direction.